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Innovative Residential Floor Construction: Structural Evaluation of Steel Joists with Pre-Formed Web Openings



Release Date: 
March 1999 (20 pages)
Posted Date:   
March 1, 1999



Over the past several years, the materials used to construct the frame of a home have been subject to various forces that have contributed to upward pressures on home prices. Unpredictable fluctuations in the price of framing lumber, as well as concerns with its quality, have caused builders and other providers of affordable housing to seek alternative building products.

Since 1992, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has sponsored numerous successful studies to identify, evaluate, and implement innovative structural materials, such as cold-formed steel, in the residential market. For example, a comprehensive set of prescriptive construction guidelines was developed for residential cold-formed steel [1]. Similar to wood-framing, these guidelines are now accepted in current U.S. building codes [2]. However, the use of steel framing is still very limited, partly because steel is not being effectively "integrated" into conventional home construction. Cold-formed steel framing (CFS) is particularly suitable for residential floor systems, because thermal issues are minimal and most floors are currently constructed of more expensive, older growth lumber to meet the loading requirements. Therefore, it is appropriate to focus attention on improving the cost-effective use of steel in one of its most promising applications ¾ residential floors.